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Mahesh Jethmalani to put up `token fight` against Gadkari

A fight, even if it is token, is on the cards in the election for BJP president.

Mumbai: A fight, even if it is token, is on the cards in the election for BJP President as noted lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani plans to enter the fray against Nitin Gadkari who appears all set to be elected for a second term.

"If nobody stands then I will contest, unless my eligibility criteria comes in the way," Jethmalani told PTI.

Earlier in the day, Jethmalani had indicated that he may enter the fray as he did not want the BJP Presidential poll go uncontested.

When asked, Jethlamani earlier told reporters, "I just said there should be a contest if Gadkari is contesting. If I decide to put up a token fight, I may stand."

Asked if he had spoken to any senior BJP leader about his plans, he said, "I am a small person, only an ordinary worker."

BJP`s Chief Election Officer Thawarchand Gehlot also indicated that Jethamalani has expressed an inclination to contest the poll.

"Mahesh Jethmalani has not contacted me. Someone on his behalf had called me to seek a copy of the nomination papers and voters list," said Gehlot.

Jethmalani resigned from the BJP`s national executive in November last year against Gadkari`s continuation as the party chief in the wake of allegations of financial wrongdoing by investor firms in Purti Group linked to him.

His father Ram Jethmalani also then spoke against Gadkari`s continuation and questioned some other decisions of the party leading to his suspension.

BJP has already issued a notification for the party`s president`s elections, fixing January 23 as the date for filing of nominations, scutiny and withdrawal.

The result would be declared the same day in case there is no contest and the election is unanimous.

"If there is a contest, the date of polling will be
announced on January 23," Gehlot said, adding that in that case a total of 2,000 electors will vote to elect the new President.

Explaining the citeria for contesting the party`s Presidential polls, Gehlot said a candidate has to file a set of nomination papers with 20 proposers for one state and also has to have such proposers from atleast five different states.

Party sources said Gadkari was likely to get another term as no other contender has emerged for the post.

While Gehlot claimed that the party followed the electoral process before holding election to its President`s post, tradition has it that the party president is elected without a contest.

The party has already given a clean chit to Gadkari on the alleged wrongdoings in investments in Purti Group, based on the probe done by RSS ideologue and chartered accountant S Gurumurthy.

With RSS backing Gadkari to the hilt, a consensus had appeared to have emerged yesterday on a second term for him.

Senior party leader L K Advani, who had reservations about a fresh term for Gadkari, had reportedly agreed to it as a consensus on any other candidate proved elusive.